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German Parliament Abolishes Military Conscription

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TEHRAN, March 25 (ICANA) –Germany's parliament on Thursday finalized the abolition of military conscription.
Friday, March 25, 2011 2:43:30 PM
German Parliament Abolishes Military Conscription

The move suspends the draft effective July 1, 55 years after it was introduced at the height of the Cold War, DPA reported.

The last intake of young males are already halfway through their six months of training. The three armed forces will in future comprise a mix of long-service professionals and short-service volunteers on stints of 12 to 23 months.

The opposition Greens voted in favour of the government bill in the Bundestag in Berlin.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian counterparts, the Christian Social Union (CSU), were initially hostile to giving up the draft, which they viewed as beneficial to society.

But almost single-handedly, a former defence minister, Karl- Theodor zu Guttenberg, persuaded them to back the move late last year. He retired from politics on March 1 after a scandal involving plagiarism.

His successor, Thomas de Maiziere, has moved ahead with abolition, but has suspended other military cutbacks planned by Guttenberg pending a review.

Compulsory military service was part of life for centuries in Germany, with only two gaps, 1919-35 and 1945-55. It helped drive emigration to the United States in the 19th century, when many youths sneaked out of the country to avoid army life.

Germany has never conscripted women. Conscientious objectors were allowed in recent decades to do welfare work instead.

Germany currently has 228,000 soldiers, sailors and air force personnel. De Maiziere said he would announce the future size of the forces and a reorganization in June.

Guttenberg had set his mind on cutting the forces to 185,000.

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